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2016 Update on Indiana’s Medical Malpractice Reform Legislation | Indiana Medical Malpractice Attorneys and Wrongful Death Lawyers

2016 Update on Indiana’s Medical Malpractice Reform Legislation | Indiana Medical Malpractice Attorneys and Wrongful Death Lawyers

Indiana 2016 updated Medical Malpractice ActAs lay people, we put our faith in physicians, nurses,  hospital facilities and other medical providers whom we trust to exercise sound professional decisions, provide quality care and abide by “best practice” standards in their field(s) of medicine. Most healthcare professionals meet or exceed the benchmark of quality health care we have come to expect. But when medical experts fail to meet a reasonable standard of care that results in your bodily injury or the death of a family member, you need an experienced Indiana medical malpractice attorney to represent you and your family’s interests in a legal action against a negligent medical practitioner(s ).

History of Indiana’s Medical Malpractice Act

In 1975, to avert an exodus of medical professionals from the state of Indiana, lawmakers enacted the Medical Malpractice Act which would bring stringent reform to civil actions for medical negligence and place caps on liability payouts. Caps for acts of medical negligence had been raised only twice since the initial legislation was enacted 41 years ago. Periodically, lawmakers should revisit the caps imposed by the Malpractice Act and make fair, economic adjustments that reflect inflation and soaring healthcare costs.

The Medical Malpractice Act as Amended in 2016


Call Charlie Ward at 317-639-9501Currently, Indiana has one of the lowest caps in the nation. In 2016, Senator Brent Steele from Bedford, Indiana authored and introduced Senate Bill 28 (SB 28) which would not only increase the caps imposed upon injured persons and the families of persons deceased by an act of medical negligence, but would hasten payments made by the Patient’s Compensation Fund for a court approved settlement or final non-appealable judgment. The Indiana Trial Lawyers Association (ITLA),  one of the most respected lobbies serving the interests of Hoosiers, backed Steele’s bill and worked diligently with lawmakers and healthcare providers alike, to amend and improve on certain aspects of Indiana’s Medical Malpractice Act. Although ITLA does not favor caps on tort claims, the political climate was ripe for all interested parties, including the Indiana Medical Association which represents physicians, to strike a compromise with lawmakers that would benefit individual citizens and continue to attract accomplished physicians and talented healthcare professionals to the state of Indiana.

After SB 28 was heavily amended by both the house and the senate, lawmakers voted unanimously on March 8, 2016, to send the bill to Governor Mike Pence for his signature. Several of the bill’s key changes to Indiana’s Medical Malpractice Act are shown on the right hand column in the chart below. Read SB 28.

Medical Malpractice Act

Prior to

July 1, 2017

 Medical Malpractice Act

Effective July 1, 2017

Liability Caps

Patients can only receive up to $1.25 million in damages from an act of malpractice.

Liability Caps

Effective, July 1, 2017, patients injured or killed by a negligent act of malpractice on or after July 1, 2017, may receive an amount no greater than $1.65 million in damages.

Effective July 1, 2019,  lawmakers have approved an additional raise of $150,000 for patients injured or killed by a negligent act of malpractice on or after July 1, 2019. Patients may receive an amount no greater than $1.8 million in damages.

(PCF) Patient’s Compensation Fund

Physicians and Providers are responsible for the first $250,000 in damages owed to one patient for one act of malpractice, and no more than $750,000 combined annually. The PCF covers the rest of a patient’s damages, which allows patients a guarantee of full compensation by excluding physicians’ insurance plans as a factor in the ability to cover damages awards.

 (PCF) Patient’s Compensation Fund

Effective, July 1, 2017,
Physicians and Providers are responsible for the first $400,000 in damages owed to one patient for one act of malpractice. The PCF is responsible for $1.25 million.

Effective, July 1, 2019,
Physicians and Providers are responsible for the first $500,000 in damages owed to one patient for one act of malpractice. The PCF is responsible for $1.3 million.

Time Limits

The statute of limitations for filing a complaint is two years from the act of malpractice. Children less than six years-old have until their eighth birthday to file a complaint.

Time Limits

No change.

Filing Complaints

Before taking a case to court, patients must file a complaint with the Indiana Department of Insurance, where a three-physician medical review panel reviews the claim. If there is one defendant, two of the three panel members must be from the accused physician’s specialty. The panel gives a non-conclusive, non-binding report, but they can be called as experts if the defendant chooses to take the case to court.

Filing Complaints

No change.

Payment from PCF

Claims for payment from the Patient’s Compensation Fund are paid quarterly

Payment from PCF

Effective July 1, 2017
Claims from the patient’s compensation fund must be paid not later than 60 days after the issuance of a court approved settlement or final non-appealable judgment.

 

Experienced Indiana Medical Malpractice Lawyers and Nursing Home Negligence Attorneys

Our experienced Indiana medical malpractice lawyers are here to navigate the complexities of the medical malpractice claims process for you and your loved ones. Call Ward & Ward Law Firm today at 317-639-9501 and ask for “Charlie” for a free, no obligation, consultation.

By Charlie Ward
[email protected]

Ward & Ward Law Firm
728 S Meridian St
Indianapolis, IN 46225
317-639-9501

 

Read more about medical malpractice lawyers in Indiana:

Medical Malpractice and Related Injuries

Understanding Indiana’s Medical Malpractice Law

 

 

Refrain from Social Networking Activity and Protect Your Personal Injury Claim | Indianapolis Attorney

Protect your injury case. Refrain from using social media.Call personal injury and accident lawyer Charlie Ward today for a free consultation

If you have hired a personal injury lawyer to protect your interests in a claim for injuries and damages involving a car, motorcycle, truck or semi tractor-trailer accident, your attorney will likely ask you to refrain from posting photos or messages of any kind to social networking sites, no matter how harmless or irrelevant your posts may seem to your case. Insurance company defendants can infer a great deal of information — and misinformation —from ‘harmless’ photographs that are taken out of the context of your daily life.

What is the discovery process?

The legal term “discovery” means a formal pre-trial investigation. Attorneys for claimants and defendants use the discovery approach to build their claim or make their defense. Vehicles used by attorneys for the discovery process may include, but are not limited to, Interrogatories, Request for Admissions and Request for Production of Documents. Despite privacy concerns, several state and federal courts have ruled that pictures, postings and messages transmitted via social media, i.e. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, blogs, and many other online networking sites, may be compelled in the discovery process.

There is no expectation of privacy

You may be asked to turn over personal or professional profiles (both private and public), posts and images that you or your “friends” have posted online, even those postings made prior to your accident if defense can make the case that previous posts could be relevant to the case at hand. I should caution you about ‘cleaning up’ or deactivating your social networking sites. In a wrongful death case in Virginia, a plaintiff received monetary sanctions from the Court in the amount of $180,000 for “spoliation” or tampering with the evidence by removing 16 photos from his Facebook account. Although the jury ultimately found on behalf of the Plaintiff, his monetary award was greatly reduced by that amount and his attorney was sanctioned $522,000 for instructing his client to destroy his page. Lawyers practicing in the state of Indiana must abide by the Indiana Rule of Professional Conduct. Section 3.4 of the rules states: “a lawyer shall not unlawfully obstruct another party’s access to evidence or unlawfully alter, destroy or conceal a document or other material having potential evidentiary value. A lawyer shall not counsel or assist another person to do any such act.” An experienced personal injury or wrongful death lawyer may ask you to refrain from further online posting but should never ask you to hide, clean-up or remove posts, messages or photos which you or someone you know has already posted.

Posting rules for personal injury claimants

The following are a few good common sense rules to abide by if you are involved in a personal injury claim:

  1. Do not talk about your case to anyone except your attorney;
  2. Do not accept any “friend” requests from people you don’t personally know;
  3. Do not post any photos of yourself online; and
  4. Do not hide, remove or in any way destroy any online postings that were made by or about you until your case has been disposed.

The law firm of WARD & WARD has over eighty-five years of combined legal experience with personal injury and wrongful death claims. Our firm receives no legal fees or expenses unless we collect damages on your behalf. Call Charlie Ward today for a free evaluation of your claim. Charlie Ward (317) 639-9501 http://www.wardlawfirm.com/